‘More important than the food pairing is the person with whom you drink the wine,’ so says Christian Moueix. His family business owns some of the most illustrious names in Bordeaux including Château Pétrus, so he knows a thing or two about it.
Rules shouldn’t govern what you serve your guests; rather it should be a feeling of what will be work best for that particular moment. Food is, of course, part of the equation and is often my starting point. Then I might consider how many people are coming: large parties tend to be boisterous and the focus is inevitably drawn away from the food and drink. Some friends enjoy trying multiple wines; others find the constant change tiresome. If you have something particularly good to offer, serve it at the beginning or end of meal when it is more likely to get noticed.
Sweet wine is a brilliant way to leave a vinous memory – it is so rarely drunk that a good one is always appreciated. My last consideration is cost. If your friends usually drink £4.99 plonk it doesn’t mean they won’t appreciate your longtreasured bottles. My choices below should wow everyone at the table.